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Even I’m Scared of Vaccines

Look at her.

I mean, seriously. Look how perfect and precious and adorable she is. I was lucky, so lucky, to fall crazy in love with my baby. From the minute she was born I was awash in the euphoria, joy and intensely biological need to love and protect her forever. I was blessed.

So imagine eight short, sleepless weeks later when I went in for her well-child exam and had to make the decision to vaccinate. What? Let you inflict pain and possible suffering on this perfect baby? What? Not just once, but four times? Yes, protecting her against eight vaccine preventable diseases, umm I guess I get that.

But four individual shots? ARE YOU INSANE? My husband, already very pale thanks to his Swedish heritage, went so white he was translucent and had to leave the room.

This was going to be hard. It goes against all biological instinct and maternal intuitiveness to willingly allow your child to be hurt or to suffer, if even for a moment.

For several minutes my only panicked thoughts were:  BACK OFF LADY, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HURT MY BABY – I’M OUTTA HERE!

I took a deep breath, I swallowed hard, I unsuccessfully choked back tears and I listened.

I listened to my choices. I listened to the risks associated with disease and how vaccines can prevent them. I listened to why, as a newborn, my baby was at her most vulnerable for these diseases. Waiting would only put her at greater risk.

I had the opportunity to fend off and protect her from something much worse than a needle prick. I had a choice to protect her. As hard as it was at that first visit, (and honestly it never gets easier) I always choose to vaccinate my babies. I choose the temporary pain of a prick over a lifetime of risk and potential disease.

So, how did you feel at your baby’s first doctor’s appointment? Were you surprised at your gut reaction? I’d love to hear your stories!

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. kimspencer #

    I was also questioning of vaccines when my son was born 9 years ago! I trusted my doctor to know the science like the back of his hand. So we did it! HepB at birth, 4 needles at 2 months, 4 at 4 months, 3 at 6 months. then he got really sick. then i read about vaccines and realized there are NO SAFETY studies for more than one vaccine administered at a time! and then i found out HepB is a sexually transmitted/needle sharing disease that I had not contracted to pass on to him…and that those vaccines would wear off by the time he was 9, so they weren’t necessary at all! And then I found out a baby doesn’t have an intact immune system to “trick” with vaccines til around 6 months anyway, and then I figured out my kid’s immune system was probably compromised by the fact that his grandmothers both have lupus, but no one took that into consideration! Hope it goes better for you! Glad I could sacrifice my kid to protect the herd for ya, it’s been a blast!

    February 25, 2010
  2. kimspencer #

    That’s funny you guys calling out the troops to come get me on Twitter. Listen, I’m just a Mom, who’s child had a bad reaction to vaccines and I think it’s fair people realize that it happens. There is little informed consent. I had none, admittedly I didn’t go looking for it. But part of what I’ve learned since then I have shared here. There is a way to keep your children safe from truly scary preventable diseases like H-Flu (Hib) without jamming your kid up with 4 vaccines in one day, a practice which is NOT TESTED for safety. And doing it with a family history of autoimmune disorders? Shameful. My sister, who is 38, was hospitalized for a week at 7 years old after MMR. Vaccination is not without risk! May it never happen to any of your children.

    February 25, 2010
    • immunizecokids #

      Hi Kim – we have commented on your comments – thanks for reading Colorado Mom2Mom

      February 25, 2010
  3. immunizecokids #

    Thank you for your comments, Kim. It is these type of fears is why we have Melanie write this blog. I appreciate your questions, comments and interests.

    I also appreciate how web savvy you are – Twitter is an amazing tool. Never intended to “get you” just wanted to add some more moms and some balance to the conversation.

    Melanie is too just a mom sharing her opinions and science that she believes in.

    I hope that you have worked with your doctor and the Vaccine Adverse Event Registry http://vaers.hhs.gov/index to get the care your child needs. It’s never acceptable that a child is injured by a vaccine.

    It is always important for a parent to fully understand their child’s health before any medical procedure, even vaccines. We encourage all parents to be very thoughtful and fully educated about their choices in vaccines.

    I did want to take some time to share with you, and all my readers, some more facts about the issues that you brought up:
    * Vaccine testing – here is a great link to loads of information
    about how vaccines are tested concurrently so we know kids are as safe as possible
    http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-science/how-are-vaccines-made.html

    * Hep B is very necessary and incredibly important vaccine that saves lives and can ultimately prevent cancer! Here is a bunch of information from our friends at the Immunization Action Coalition
    http://www.vaccineinformation.org/hepb/qandavax.asp

    * Baby’s immune system is actually very, very vulnerable to
    disease. We vaccinate to add a layer of protection to keep them safe and healthy. Here is a great link so you can learn more about your baby being “too young” for vaccines –
    http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-safety/#Are_children_too_young. You can find a list of a few studies that have determined that the current schedule does not overwhelm a child’s immune system at: http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org/safe/autism/overburdening.cfm

    * HiB natural immunity – The only way to get immunity to any disease is to get sick or get a vaccine. I personally don’t want any children to have to get sick from a disease that could be prevented.

    I look forward to further discussion with you!

    — Dawn

    February 25, 2010
  4. kimspencer #

    “It is these type of fears is why we have Melanie write this blog.” – What exactly type of fears are you speaking of? In this instance, I think we can all agree that my family’s experience goes way beyond FEAR into the realm of REALITY.

    But here’s where we will never agree. I will never take a link of anything that remotely is connected to Paul Offit or a pharmaceutical company and accept it as a leg to stand on. Offit is a rich man from vaccines, and since his vaccine did kill some children, that’s just proof of what I’m saying right there…vaccines CAN hurt children. His did. He is a vaccine developer. Not a doctor anywhere near to treating those with vaccine injury. Not one in the position to study/claim safety without conflict of interest.

    I should clarify, tho, when I mentioned Hib, I meant, that disease is actually one to worry about, so I can see getting that one, JUST that one in a day, after family immune history has been evaluated, the child is 6 months old, hasn’t been sick in 4 weeks, and hasn’t taken any Tylenol to stop detox processes in the body.

    The kinds of studies that need to be done to evaluate TRUE safety of our current vaccine schedule still have not been done, and that is not just according to me…that comes from public comments made by Bernadine Healey, former head of the NIH and the Red Cross, and Julie Gerberding, former head of the CDC.

    And again, may it never happen to any of your children.

    February 25, 2010
  5. illhavewhatsheshaving #

    Melanie, I know exactly what you mean. When I had my first son, I worked in spine surgery research… but I still questioned my family physician about vaccines. She looked me in the eye and said , “there is no association between vaccines and autism” (that was my concern at the time). “You work in research, read the studies”. – so I did.

    My two sons were fully immunized on schedule and I’ve sought out some additional vaccines that are recommended for the places we’ve traveled.

    It’s important for me to ask the questions, but it’s also important for me to accept the answers from trusted sources.
    I still cringe when my children cry as the needle approaches, but I cringe worse when I think about the guilt I would have if they got sick from a disease that I could have prevented with a vaccine. The other thing that bothers me is the guilt I would have if my child or I knowingly or unknowingly infected someone else who could not be immunized – like a newborn baby.

    February 26, 2010
  6. kimspencer #

    to illhavewhatsheshaving: and imagine the guilt you’d feel if your child suffered a vaccine injury and you sat and watched your also-genetically-disposed niece start losing eye-contact after her 6 months shots and you didn’t mention to your sister that maybe she should think of her own hospitalization from the MMR at 7, her mother’s autoimmune disease and her nephews vaccine-injury. Or you didn’t discuss it with your friends with equally vulnerable family histories. Or anyone who doesn’t have full informed consent that if they get the shots and something bad happens that they will have no recourse but to take care of that child on their own with no insurance or support whatsoever. There’s always 2 sides to a story!

    February 27, 2010
  7. ndj1 #

    I find the contentiousness here interesting. Yes! There are some children who should not be vaccinated. Kim, it sounds like your children are some of those children. But your children are also the reason that vaccination is so very important. The more children we vaccinate, the more protected kids who can’t be vaccinated will be. So I totally get what you’re saying Kim and I agree that parents should be educated about which groups of kids can be vaccinated. And then the rest of us need to get the vaccines to protect those kids who can’t.

    I see this argument a lot in terms of allergies – ie anti-vaccine advice that states that no one should vaccinate because vaccines contain potential allergens. Yes! Kids allergic to components of vaccines should not take those vaccines! As parents we should research this and be aware that this is a potential problem with vaccines. And then the rest of us should vaccinate our kids in order to protect kids who cannot be vaccinated due to allergies.

    You’re missing the point when you say vaccines are dangerous to MY child so therefore NO CHILD should be vaccinated.

    March 4, 2010
  8. kimspencer #

    I think your ideas here, ndj1, are great. Let’s keep vaccines away from those that might be at risk of a reaction. Great! In THEORY. This Colorado group certainly isn’t a part of the solution of teaching parents what to know so that they can make informed decisions. On the homepage, it says this group is “advocating for better access to vaccines for all children” not “advocating for parents’ rights to know if their child is at risk for reactions”. How exactly WOULD a parent know if their child had allergy issues? No doctor is testing them, or looking at their family background, as a matter of fact, they are pushing these vaccines down every parent’s throat with a grave sense of emergency and responsibility. I’ve had friends called cruel for second guessing vaccines for their children who already have behavioral problems and delays. And I’ve also got friends who have had children fall into vaccine illnesses at the ages of 3, 4, 7, and 15. And let’s not even go there with the Gardasil girls. So YES, let us be aware that some children can’t handle them. Who’s going to do that? The manufacturer? The AAP? The CDC? Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition? The individual parent is being led by websites like this one that we must vaccinate. Don’t worry about your husband’s Chron’s or your older child’s 24 hours of high pitched screams after the 2 months shots. THIS child needs 5 shots at 2 months old, and who cares what your background is OR if all those shots in one day have been tested.
    So again, great theories, NONE of which are being practiced, or anywhere NEAR being practiced.
    Oh, and after re-reading this, I should apologize to the manufacturers. Some of their package inserts do admit that there is no safety data/effects unknown (ie – seasonal flu and H1N1 in pregnant women). Its just the doctors don’t read that. Neither does the NIH with their radio ads about how safe it is.
    Wouldn’t all us moms be on the same page if we were to all advocate for safety studies that please both sides of this argument? Let’s all get on the bandwagon to get studies of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated health outcomes. Or even safety studies that 5 shots in a day at 2, 4, and 6 months is safe for everyone? Or a study to figure out who is more likely to have a bad reaction? Because, again, no one knew if my kids were at risk. No one was even concerned.
    And again, let me be concerned for your kids as you all have for mine (!): may it never happen to any of your children.

    March 4, 2010

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